Retired Professors Join the Peace Corps; California Couple Departs for Zimbabwe Next Week
October 8, 1999Washington, D.C., October 8, 1999—Clem and Jean Falbo, of Santa Rosa, Calif., are leaving the ivory tower of academia for the dusty classrooms of an African village schoolhouse. The Falbos have been invited to serve as Peace Corps volunteers and will depart for Zimbabwe on October 14.
The Falbos, who both retired this year from the faculty at Sonoma State University, will put a lifetime of experience in education to work in the Peace Corps. Clem, 68, will teach math, and Jean, 60, will teach science in a high school in Zimbabwe.
"I'm hoping that by getting high schoolers interested in math, I might be able to help create a future generation of math teachers in Zimbabwe. And maybe one day, nations like Zimbabwe won't have to rely on foreign assistance to educate its young people," Clem says.
Clem Falbo spent 35 years as a professor of mathematics at Sonoma State. Jean Falbo spent her 25-year career in the envirnomental studies department. The couple met at Sonoma State and were married two years ago; they consider their Peace Corps experience a belated, extended honeymoon.
Along with their clothing and travel gear, the Falbos are packing a suitcase full of colored chalk, rulers, protractors, and solar calculators. They know that such items are precious resources in African high schools, where students often go without textbooks, desks, and basic school supplies.
They are even packing their digital camera and laptop computer, hoping to set up a Web site to share their experiences with family and friends back in the United States.
Today, more than 7,000 Peace Corps volunteers—including 450 who are over the age of 50—are at work in 78 countries around the world. Since 1961, more than 155,000 Americans have served as Peace Corps volunteers.